MJ Biz Article: Justice Department could help marijuana industry via Cole Memo 2.0 – or hurt reform

As federal marijuana reform inches forward in a Congress paralyzed by partisan gridlock, more immediate “progress” might have to come from the Biden administration.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice might address the thorny issue of cannabis banking when his office revisits its approach toward the state-legal but federally prohibited marijuana industry, Washington insiders believe.

A friendly – or at least hands-off – Justice Department would be welcome news to marijuana businesses frustrated and exhausted with inaction in Congress, where bipartisan reform bills such as the SAFE Banking Act remain stalled.

However, a policy memo by itself, much like the landmark 2013 “Cole Memo,” is unlikely to convince more banks to offer basic services to marijuana businesses, several observers said.

And such a document – dubbed by some insiders as a Cole Memo 2.0 – could even backfire.

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